Pain

Why do we have pain?

Let’s back up and differentiate between physical, externally induced pain and emotional pain, that which is inflicted on our sole, our identity.

On a clinical level, physical pain can be treated, healing can take place, the pain can be tolerated. And often, pain has to be overcome for healing to occur.

Emotional pain ismore difficult, if not impossible to diagnose and treat. Despite what it says on their signs and in their pamphlets, counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists, along with their array of drugs, represent a pitiful arsenal against the issues we face today.

There is commonality in that physical pain can produce deep seated emotional pain and emotional pain can cause very serious physical pain.

But why did God allow it? Why do we have pain?

I want to know because I see so many people doing really stupid things, wasting insane amounts of money and resources, and causing more pain than they could ever hope to heal, all trying to make it go away.

I have pain of my own that I can’t seem to ever overcome. And it is nothing compared to what millions face every day.

The short answer is that it’s because of the fall. Adam and Eve sinned so we have pain. But if we make it so simplistic, it leaves us with the only solution being to, “suck it up.”

The exciting thing for me in asking this question is that I know my God. My King is a healer. My Lord is moved by every tear, every broken and contrite heart. When a child dies through abortion or cancer or abuse, no one sees it more, feels it more, knows it better.

The issue of pain is often and the center of the atheist’s arguments (knowingly or unknowingly). So it seems like we need to understand it better.

I want to hear back. Why do you think we have pain?

What are you looking at?

I used to train horses.  I taught people to ride.  One of the beginning elements that I would try to get people to understand, get myself to understand is the sensitivity of a horse.  They look big and powerful.  The old westerns always showed people kicking their heels (with spurs, no less) into the horse’s sides and galloping away.

Horses don’t need to be kicked.

I might get frustrated, see the horse doing everything wrong.  My students would yell about how stubborn or stupid their horse was.  But it wasn’t the horses fault, sometimes.

What are you looking at?

Our eyes often dictate the direction of our bodies.  If I am looking at the ground, it changes the physical attitude of my body.  If I look left, or right, my body feels different.  If I am inwardly focused, it affects my muscles, my bones.  If I am concentrating on a particular point, it tenses my body, makes it more rigid.

A horse senses all these things and will respond accordingly.  Sometimes they will take advantage of you.  Sometimes they will try to act on what they sense you are wanting them to do.  And you can assist them in learning, in training, by adjusting your focus.

People are making resolutions, trying to fulfill them, maybe already failing on them.  It’s what we do every January.  I am doing it too.  Trying to exercise again, be more diligent in prayer, in the Word.  I can feel my feet, my heart beginning to falter, again.

So, I ask again.  What are you looking at?

“Let us run with endurance the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”  (Hebrews 12)

Dance, Dance

Why do we lift our hands in worship?  Why do we sway to a waltz and tap our feet to the beat of a drum?  Why do we clap our hands and stand in appreciation of a performance, a person?

I come to worship, at times, with a heavy heart.  Troubles often seem to surround me and the last thing I want to do is lift my hands. When I was younger, I thought it was fake to sing and praise when there was nothing inside.  I thought God would appreciate my honesty with Him.  Maybe He did.

I think He appreciates a yielded heart more.  I think He looks on my heart and sees me lift my hands.  He knows my circumstances and my worries and takes note that I pursue Him.

There is a physical aspect of worship, a discipline of doing what needs to be done, that positions us to hear, to receive, to obey.  And God honors that.  We want the emotion, the high of sensing His presence, of knowing His goodness.  But, this often comes on the heels of submitting our wills, our intellect, our reason and our hope to Him.

In some churches, raised hands are considered inappropriate, clapping hands are not seen as reverent.  I find the opposite true in my own life.  I can feel my heart so broken and weighted, and, in the act of dancing or pointing to Him, feel the weight lifted, the healing begin.  In the act of raising my hands, I sense my soul becoming still.  “Be still and know that He is God,” doesn’t necessarily refer to being physically still, but an inward stillness.

I am older, not skinny, a ridiculously uncoordinated, goofy, little man.  And if I am seen as undignified, I will stand with king David and say, “I’ll become even more undignified than this…,” FOR HIM!